MS Risk Blog

IS Orders Businesses to Use its Currency

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As of Tuesday 27 June, the so-called Islamic State (IS) group has ordered shopkeepers and traders to price goods in its currency, the dirham, with the group setting the value at 1,000 Syrian pounds (1.41 pounds) per dirham, as it seeks to steer its own monetary police even as it is in the midst of loosing territory. IS declared the launch of its own currency in 2015.

The announcement, which was circulated in an audio statement on IS-run messaging platforms, disclosed that two Syrian banknotes – the 1,000 pound note and the 50 pound note – would be banned in the areas that the group controls as of 25 July. While the IS decree made no mention of a ban on the 500 Syrian pound notes, it did disclose that exchange rates for the IS currency would be declared on a daily basis.

In recent months, the militant group has been loosing swathes of territory in both Iraq and Syria. It is currently under siege in its defacto Syrian capital Raqqa, as US-backed forces press an assault to capture the city. IS is also on the brink of defeat in the city of Mosul, in Iraq. The group is now believed to have moved its leadership to the Syrian town of al-Mayadeen, southeast of Raqqa, and close to the Iraqi border in Deir al-Zor province.